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Hodes Officially Jumps Into Senate Race

One day after the 2010 New Hampshire Senate race officially became an open-seat contest, Rep. Paul Hodes (D) is busy laying the groundwork for his campaign.

In an interview with Roll Call on Wednesday, Hodes said he has already spoken with Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (N.J.) about the Senate race, although he would not say if the committee promised him support over other Democratic candidates.

“I have announced that I will run for the United States Senate in 2010 to continue to keep the great state of New Hampshire and our nation moving forward,” Hodes said.

Hodes had already been weighing a Senate bid against Sen. Judd Gregg (R) in 2010, but Gregg’s impending departure from the Senate for the Obama administration made it the “right time” to run.

Gregg is stepping down to become Commerce secretary. Gregg’s appointed replacement, his former Chief of Staff Bonnie Newman, is expected to serve out the next two years of his term, setting up an open-seat race in the Granite State next year.

But Hodes isn’t the only New Hampshire Member considering a bid for Senate: Fellow two-term Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D) has not publicly acknowledged her interest, but those close to her say she is considering running. Hodes represents the more Democratic-leaning 2nd district, while Shea-Porter represents the slightly more conservative 1st district.

Hodes said he notified Shea-Porter that he was announcing his candidacy.

“I’m very honored to serve with Congresswoman Shea-Porter,” he said. “We work well together. She and I have discussed my intentions and I’ve made my decision and for the rest, I will leave you to talk to her.”

On the Republican side, all eyes are on former Sen. John Sununu, who was ousted from office last year. Beyond Sununu, former Rep. Charlie Bass (R) and former Gov. Steve Merrill (R) are also mentioned as possible contenders.

Hodes unseated Bass in 2006, and a 2010 Senate race between the two men would undoubtedly be an interesting rematch.

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